The Guardian
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Boko Haram not in defence of Islam, Buhari says


Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said violent attacks, kidnappings and killings by Boko Haram insurgency group are not in defence of any of the two dominant religions in the country.

“It is a simple fact that these now-failing terrorists have targeted the vulnerable, the religious, the non-religious, the young, and the old without discrimination,” Buhari said in an article published in Speaking Out, a guest opinion column for Christianity Today Magazine.

“Christianity in Nigeria is not—as some seem intent on believing—contracting under pressure… Nor is it the case that Boko Haram is primarily targeting Christians: not all of the Chibok schoolgirls were Christians; some were Muslims.”

For about 11 years since 2009, Boko Haram has been responsible for displacing over 300,000 and killing over 15,000 Nigerians in different states, especially in the northern region.

There had only been a few rewards for efforts made by different governments to defeat the group which later split into other groups to terrorise Nigeria and its neighbouring countries- Cameroon and Chad, particularly.

Buhari, since his first election as president in 2015, listed the war against the insurgency group as one of his government’s focal point of concentration.

Over four years after, Boko Haram still strike in different Nigerian communities, making government critics and opposition allege that Boko Haram was part of Buhari’s plans to stifle Christian religion and consequently ‘Islamise’ Nigeria.

The allegations, according to Buhari were far from the truth and aimed at dividing Nigerians “by prying us from one from another—to set one religion seemingly implacably against the other.”

Quoting different passages and chapters of the Holy Quran and Bible, Buhari said both Christianity and Islam preach love, peace and against compulsion to accept a certain religion.

Opposing his critics’ insinuations, Buhari stated that Christianity was thriving in Nigeria as about half of the country’s population practising Christianity.

“There is no place in Nigeria for those who seek to divide us by religion, who compel others to change their faith forcibly, or try to convince others that by so doing, they are doing good,” Buhari said.

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